Updated: Apr 26
For students of all ages and aspirations, the government lockdowns and masking mandates have led to a monotonous daily routine, lack of real contact with friends, excessive social media use, and waning academic motivation. The negative impact this has had on students’ academic development and mental health has been palpable. For parents this has been a troubling development leaving many at a loss on how to re-energize their children and restore a sense of purpose and direction.
Enrolling in an online summer school could help provide relief to students suffering from lockdown boredom. A summer course, especially in a subject not generally taught in school that your child is interested in, can provide needed intellectual variety, restore academic motivation, impart confidence, and offer opportunities for internationally diverse socialization; all of which can help to combat lockdown fatigue.
In this article we’ll explore 12 ways an online summer school can benefit your child during lockdown.
1. Provides your child with needed variety
The monotony of lockdown routines - taking the same classes, with the same teachers, and the same classmates has dented many students’ ability to learn. An unchanging study environment breeds boredom and makes it difficult to focus. When every day feels like the last, it can be difficult to process lots of information and get to grips with complex new topics. However, an online summer school with a totally fresh line-up of world-elite teachers, fascinating and novel subject material, and new students from around the world can help to shake things up and add needed variety to an otherwise all too predictable routine.
2. Restores academic motivation and combats mental fatigue
One of the most frustrating aspects of middle school and high school is the lack of academic choice. Until at least junior or senior year students have an entirely preset curriculum, with the only exception potentially being a choice of foreign language. When students are forced to study subjects they didn’t choose and don’t enjoy, it is all too easy to view school as a chore that they must simply muddle through. However, allowing your child to choose an online summer course provides them with the opportunity to independently branch out and explore a subject of particular interest to them, and one which might have direct relevance to their future careers and aspirations. These might include; discovering 21st century technologies, exploring human biological systems in preparation to become a medical doctor, learning how to think like a lawyer, creating and marketing a business idea, understanding the difference between speculation and investing, or perhaps even a career exploration course introducing all of the above. As the renaissance polymath Leondardo Da Vinci admonished centuries ago - “Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.” Regardless of the particular path that interests them, this represents an exciting opportunity for your child to practice making their own educational decisions and take charge of their future.
Moreover, it be refreshing to be able to learn without the constant stress of acing exams and being graded on essays. Without this pressure students can take risks with subjects considered difficult, like medicine or engineering, without the fear of underperforming and potentially hurting their GPA and future university prospects.
3. Boosts mental health
Summer is usually thought of as the best time of the year, but it can actually be very challenging for children. With the summer closure of school, there is an inevitable loss of loss of structure, consistency, and potentially purpose. This is now magnified by the fact that due to lockdown restrictions many opportunities typically available during the summer are no longer possible. However, attending an online summer school is one potential way to meet these latent needs and boost your child’s mental health. If your child is studying a subject they find fascinating and they know they have to prepare for a mock trial on, say, defending the accused against charges of war crimes in the International Criminal Court, this gives them a specific, manageable goal, and a sense of satisfaction when they succeed at it.
4. Builds confidence as they overcome challenges
One of the best ways to increase one’s sphere of confidence is to try something new and to succeed at it. It is not necessary to do it perfectly, but rather to prove to yourself that you can overcome obstacles in pursuit of a goal. Your child will be exposed to intellectual challenge and a wealth of knowledge at a high-quality online summer school. This will expand their horizons and offer them a multiplicity of exciting new challenges to attempt and overcome, boosting their confidence and self-belief. Learning how to face challenges, accept mistakes, and become joyfully resilient is the ideal practice for flourishing at university and in their future career.
5. Imparts crucial skills for a post-Covid world
Society’s need for the best minds in technology, mathematics, science, and business will be stronger than ever post-Covid. The coronavirus lockdowns have proven how vital and dominant the technology industry is, and how key subjects such as biology, economics, and natural medicine (to name a few) are to dealing with global crises like the pandemic. The array of subjects that your child can study at a high-quality online summer school, such as business, engineering, and coding and computer science will give them a head-start in careers that will be well-paid and in consistent demand as the world recovers from the government lockdowns.
6. Helps to catch up with missed school
While children have done a remarkable job just surviving through the recent series of lockdowns, it is inevitable that there will be some gaps in their learning as a result of the disruption to schools and the necessity for parents to take on homeschooling roles. This is especially worrying for children who are currently working towards important university entrance exams like the SAT, ACT, A-Levels, TOEFL, or IELTS. An online summer school however can help fill-in these missing pieces and even give your child a head start on the school year to come and beyond.
7. Boosts their chances of getting into a top university
At a high-quality online summer school your child will have the opportunity to be taught by leading university academics, and to receive a letter of recommendation directly from their instructor. In addition, your child can get the inside scoop directly from their instructor on how they can tailor their university applications and make the best possible impression. This kind of exposure and expert endorsement will set them apart from other applicants, and can tip the balance in favor of their application.
8. Gives them a head start on deciding their college major
College is becoming ever more expensive and also represents a significant investment of time. Therefore, it is more important than ever that your child enters university with a strong sense of purpose and direction. To realize after a few semesters or even graduation that your future career path really lies in a different discipline is a regrettable, if avoidable mistake. High school has historically done a poor job of sufficiently exposing students to career-relevant disciplines, and it is all too common for students to enter college without clear goals. The result is that students who would be otherwise inclined to engage with the more challenging (and remunerative) STEM and business related disciplines may opt for a degree of lesser value simply by default. The solution is to expose your child early on to these in-demand disciplines, clue them in to their relative merits, and inspire them with great mentors who know how to make the subject matter exciting and accessible. With an online summer school this is possible from anywhere.
9. Improves social skills
Everyone has suffered during the lockdowns from the lack of social contact with friends and family. But this situation has been especially difficult for children, and more so for teens who are naturally reaching an age where they start to prefer spending time with their friends than their immediate family.
Writing on the effects of social deprivation on adolescent development and mental health, Dr Livia Tomova, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that, while teens can have positive remote contact through social media such as messaging with their friends on Whatsapp, other more passive uses of social media, such as scrolling through newsfeeds actually have a negative effect on their well-being. When your child attends a socially diverse online summer school, this will easily convert what might otherwise have been detrimental passive social media time into positive and interactive online friendship building. Furthermore, your child will be socializing with students from all over the world, with similar interests, which naturally engages their brains more and has a positive effect on their mental health.
10. Helps to find direction in life
Do you have a teen who hasn’t the foggiest what they want to do in life, or who seems to lack any particular passions or interests outside of playing video games? An online summer school is the perfect opportunity to introduce your child to vocations they might want to pursue in life. The opportunities at high-quality online summer schools may open up a whole new world for your teen not available at their regular school. For example, they could try out an online summer law course and discover a passion for argument and debate that they never knew they had. Or perhaps, though your child has never shown great interest in school, they might discover that they can apply their logical mind and love for how things work to become a highly-paid engineer.
11. Nurtures empathy, creativity and intuition
The skills your child will pick up at a high-quality online summer school will benefit them for the rest of their lives. In their immersive, expert-led classes they will learn practical skills and sophisticated frameworks for understanding the world, such as how to debate an opposing point of view or how to critically analyze complex information. This knowledge fosters the development of powerful intellectual intuition that will serve them well at both university and in the workplace.
Learning is an immensely creative activity, whether your child is getting to grips with classical mechanics or the art of investing, and immersing themselves in challenging subjects will hone their lateral thinking and creative capacities. In addition, they will necessarily interact with students and teachers from a diverse range of backgrounds and nationalities., By learning how to understand other people’s viewpoints and beliefs, while effectively and respectfully putting forth their own perspectives, this experience will important life skills which serve to greatly foster your child’s empathy and understanding.
These abilities are important as jobs are now calling for applicants with a diverse worldview, as workplaces, teams, and markets become more international. An online summer school that welcomes a students from a range of countries will help expand these skills despite the fact that travel is globally restricted. Friendship knows no borders, and participation in an online summer course will help your child break out of the rut of solitary home learning. If your child has an international network of contacts before they even finish high school, they will be in an advantaged position to excel academically and professionally.
12. What should an online summer school involve?
There are more online learning platforms than you can count, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed when you do a simple google search for an online summer school. An important decision when it comes to choosing your online summer school is between those programs which dispense pre-recorded material for your child to work through alone, and those which aim to provide the same interactive student to teacher and student to peer experience that your child would have if they were to attend in person. While such online summer schools are naturally more expensive, they do have many psychological and practical educational benefits for your child.
So there you have it, 12 ways that an online summer course can help your child with their academic, social, and mental development during lockdowns. Online learning is here to stay and an online summer course is a fantastic way to keep your child moving forward. Indeed even after the world returns to normal, you may find that online summer courses remain a key pillar in ensuring your child receives a world-class education.